Carrots

Children are a mystery. Just when you think you have them figured out they ask for carrots at bed time. Yes, carrots. Not cookies, or toys, or a drink of water, or one more story, but carrots. This is why I think my son has completely figured out life. On some level he must know that eating a vegetable, any vegetable, is the only thing that would give him another twenty minutes of delay before bed. Maybe this is something only another parent would understand, but as he sat on the couch, doodling with a pen and paper and munching on carrot coins, I felt truly delighted and proud… and bewildered. Even more so when after finishing all, yes all, of his carrot, he went happily back to bed, no arguments.

So to all parents struggling to get their kids to bed, or struggling to get them to eat something other than noodlesbreadpotatoesrice, miracles do happen, we are living proof.

Tea time

 

Cakes for tea??

Cakes for tea?? (Photo credit: joanneteh_32(loving Laduree))

 

I was reminded today of how much I loved teatime as a kid. Full with tiny cups and saucers and air for tea. I still love it. Though now I use actual tea and hot water instead of imagination. Today though, I used the playtime teatime to bring my imagination to my writing. Huzzah!

 

I often wonder if we are at our most creative when we are four or five. We would be old enough to have some pithy experiences in life, but young enough to not be ‘schooled’ out of our inherent imaginative play. Perhaps creativity as an adult is only based on tapping into the imaginative youngster you used to be.

 

A kid is a goat

I am continually blessed by being a parent. The complexities of life are simplified. Priorities are clear. Reading four bedtime stories and negotiating for just one more. Monster time is the most important time of my day. Explaining that a kid is more than a little inquisitive boy. These are important, precious times.

Love of languages

My four year old is reading (so proud!), well learning to read anyway. As part of that process, he demands, “Read this!” and jabs his little finger at whatever words are in front of him. It is more than fun, teaching this voracious reader new words. These days I am patiently reading everything from the author notes in the back of his favorite books to the warning label on his car seat (ok, maybe not so patiently on the last one).

I am enjoying this time, while I am a tiny bit smarter than him (a different story next year). Though he is now demanding that I read the French and Spanish translations of the signs and labels we encounter in our day. I am finding I am getting quickly out of my depth and cringing at my pronunciation. He loves hearing these new sounds and seems to be seeking out all the words I haven’t been reading to him.

It challenges my brain, thinking in other languages. It makes me want to learn, re-learn, how to make all the sounds not native to my English tongue. And maybe, stay one tiny step ahead of my greatest teacher.

Hearth and heart

I had the wonderful opportunity to spend the weekend with an amazing person, my son. My husband was in a course and I had the rare chance to spend one on one time with my awesome little guy.

Hanging out with a four year old is the best lesson on how to have more fun in life. He has always been busy and inquisitive, now he is talkative too. These times together are precious. It feels like we are doing more than just having fun, it feels like we are building the bonds of friendship. Times like these warm the heart.

Moments

Tangerine streaks across lavender.
Chasing indigo and periwinkle.
Shade outlined on crisp relief.
soft tipped coal presses to the outline
violet embraces midnight.

The soft pause at dusk.
held, intake, waiting
pupils spiral outward
a still hush
before raucous song
erupts as one last defender
shouts triumph
the day’s long slumber, over.
Night awakes to her feasting form.

Crimson devoured
ochre eaten
vermillion carefully prepped and supped.

Hearth heart gold,
flickers, flickers, flickers,
out.

Till
still,
still,
still awake
momma and babe.
Her soft ink cloak thrown over their heads.
Held in tender darkness,
Till,
till
till
Morning breathes in russet, ruby, carnelian, amber, ember, remember, ever, every, early, morning, held, momma, baby, baby, mommy, mine, mine, hold me, hold you, love you, love.

Y is for Yak

A clever little kid. Yak. Yack. “Don’t yack on mom! Bluh! Blah! Bluh!” We teach language and structure and clarity to them, but the sense of humor part… It amazes me every single time. How did he get to be so funny?

Alphabet books will never be the same. 🙂

Cocoa and Kisses

kids_streetten little fingers curl protectively around the small mug
we silently sip
a brief still moment shared
between blocks and trains and cars and catch
a pause to colour
then off to storytime and pretend and hide and seek
superheros have thoughtful conversations with cowboys and spacemen
on the ride to the zoo and park and store
ten little toes stomp in dinosaur tracks
across the toy-filled living room
tears chase smiles
across sweet smooth cheeks
serious tumbles after silly on a fast paced parade

we dance and wrestle and hug
as it is first bath then bed then book
a session, procession, recession
a tug and pull and push
to play all the way through to
sweet dreams

the walls fall silent and listen to themselves
the air gently settles to a soft hum
so still when the whirlwind sleeps
the restless wreckage of play
gets packed away
reloaded in the toybin with an explosive hinge

lavender shades of dawn
embrace a small voice at the edge of the bed
two bony knees and two sharp elbows
tuck wrestelessly into the cozy parabola
that once held a tiny baby
springy, silly, bounding
bouncing out of bed
and back to busyness.

Holiday Traditions Revisited

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Holiday season is here and no matter what you are celebrating, chances are that you have a bunch of traditions you have adopted from your family. Before I had my son, I pretty much followed the secular Christmas traditions my family had solidified over the years. Now that I am a Mom I get the pleasure and privilege of carving out our own traditions within our small family (with my husband’s input of course). While we are both spiritual, we don’t follow any one religion over another. That puts us in an interesting place that many people share; we don’t go to church, but here we are celebrating a Christian holiday.

We did discuss, briefly, not celebrating Christmas other than attending family events. But, let’s face it, Christmas time is just too much fun. We both grew up knowing the excitement of a Christmas morning, so we could hardly deny our son that same experience. Since we live in a mainly Christian country there is also the backdrop of fitting into society to consider as well, though that definitely played a smaller role in our decision to keep Christmas.

So, if we are not Christian, then what are we really celebrating at Christmas? Both my husband and I do like Jesus’ philosophies and teachings, so that is a pretty nice thing to celebrate. We also like the spirit of generosity that accompanies the Holidays; that being the main time when food banks receive their donations. Giving back to our community is important to us. So, we have the ritual of buying a toy, with the help of our son, to give to the local toy drive. Since our son is small, we bought a small toy to give to him after he put the bigger toy in the bin. I am so proud to say that he didn’t know about the small toy when he happily gave away a LEGO set. What a sweetie. The reason for the small toy for him was to mainly put in place a positive association with giving in his three year old mind. Maybe he is already a generous boy.

As for the rest of the holiday season, what my husband and I really love is visiting with family over some fun board games. I also like putting puzzles together, and I figured one a year is perfect. We did some baking tonight and we will also get a real Christmas tree. Gifts we have decided to keep low key with stockings in the morning and one bigger gift each. The shopping for the big gift will be decided by the rest family, so that we don’t end up with tons of shopping. Although I think the real tradition is the yearly discussion of how much we should buy for each other. Every year we end up deciding to do the same thing. 🙂

A new tradition will be to do our yearly donating on kiva.org as a family. We are basically spending the amount of an extra present each and instead giving it away to a charity.

Everyone will have their own traditions that are right for them. I think the most important thing is to consciously choose what you do and why you are doing it. Even if you don’t change a thing, I think the intent behind our traditions and rituals are very powerful.

How will you be spending your holidays?

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